(CIDRAP News) Scientists today reported findings that may help explain what made the 1918 pandemic influenza virus so deadly and that reveal similarities between that virus and the H5N1 avian influenza virus now circulating in Asia.
(CIDRAP News) – A national biosecurity board that monitors "dual use" research is apparently worried about an as-yet-published study in which a mutant form of H5N1 avian influenza virus was found to be easily transmissible in ferrets, which are considered good models for flu in humans.
(CIDRAP News) In an unprecedented move, the US government, following an advisory panel's advice, has asked the journals Science and Nature to omit key details of two studies on the transmissibility of dangerous mutant strains of H5N1 influenza viruses in ferrets on grounds that the information could be misused by bioterrorists.
(CIDRAP News) In the influenza literature, it's a given that ferrets are the best animal model for influenza in humans. They show similar clinical signs of disease, such as fever, coughing, and sneezing, and flu viruses that spread among humans usually spread in ferrets as well.
(CIDRAP News) – A World Health Organization (WHO) official said the agency will play a role in leading discussions on issues related to controversial H5N1 avian influenza transmission studies, as more experts called for a further global discussion of the issues.
(CIDRAP News) – Eighteen virologists have sent a letter to the US government's dual-use research advisory board, asking members to reconsider their recommendation that two research groups redact key details about their studies on mutated H5N1 viruses.
(CIDRAP News) – Leading influenza researchers from around the world, faced with a relentless controversy over experiments dealing with potentially dangerous H5N1 viruses, today announced a 60-day pause in such research to allow time to discuss its risks, benefits, and oversight.
(CIDRAP News) – More experts weighed in recently on various aspects of yet-unpublished H5N1 avian influenza transmissibility studies that have raised concerns about the risk of an intentional or accidental release of the mutant pathogens, as well as worries about scientific censorship.